Renny McGuire is the last in a long line of proud seanachies – storytellers of the “old country.” She carries the tales her grandfather once told – stolen from the hall closet when he would wax on at the dinner table late at night – and she continues the tradition with her late night readings at her mother’s Celtic bookstore, Seanachie.
A less-told tale of her heritage comes from a place far more mysterious than the Emerald Isle, as the McGuires have a dark family secret – a secret uncovered by one teenage descendant with just a little too much free time and a too few warnings about the consequences of idle curiosity. When a certain enchantment is spun by the unwitting McGuire heir, she can barely comprehend the dire consequences it will have on her world, or the one beyond the Veil.
Faete is the first book of brand new Blood Moon series by Aimée Oswald Sellars. It’s a solid first entry in the series, and debut publication for Sellars. The book is professionally presented with a memorable and haunting cover that does a great deal to foreshadow events of the plot and the general tone of the read. The story is equally as evocative, and written with a great deal of maturity while still fitting its young-adult genre well.
Sellars has a wide vocabulary to suit, and indeed flatter, the needs of her fiction, yet uses it sparingly and in a metered manner that won’t distance her readers. Her use of Celtic mythology is refreshing and well-researched, and leads to a very memorable tale that, while certainly within a template of expectations for a young-adult novel of its kind, will certainly stand on its own above most others. In particular, Renny herself is almost archetypal, with something of a checklist of qualities one would expect from the lead of a story such as this, and yet she really feels alive and unique during the course of the read.
The book has some issues, mostly in its predictable outcomes and aforementioned archetypes, which at times stray too close to tropes, and Sellars could have spread out even further. For those readers who are comforted by the familiar, they should have no issue getting into the read, as the book does tell a familiar story very well. Other readers may yearn for something more off the beaten path. Sellars writing style, though eloquent on the whole, is not always enough to make up the difference, as the prose is sometimes overwritten. As enchanting as Sellars’s style can be for most of the book, there are times when the writing is too purple to serve the story, and readers may want the novel to cut to the chase.
Overall, Faete is an engrossing read for young-adult readers with a satisfying combination of urban fantasy, love, lust, and magic. It hits a lot of high notes with relatively few lows, and expands on an underutilized mythology, dressing it up with imaginative ideas and Sellars’ flowing prose.
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